Based on assiduous soil mapping, analyses and collation and corroboration of data by the world’s eminent authorities, the team at Alkina have deduced the existence of nine diverse subsections of the estate’s vineyard, each its own respective micro-terroir. These are known as Polygons. After extensive deliberation and the culling of parcels within certain Polygons in some instances, three
Polygons were nominated as having the capacity for exultant wines at the very top of the estate’s qualitative hierarchy. The others service the Old Quarter.
Alkina Old Quarter Grenache Shiraz Mataro: hewn of pure, concentrated fruit from the estate’s oldest septuagenarian vines. 50% Grenache, with almost equal parts Shiraz and Mataro. Biodynamic certification, de rigeur. Minimal messing about, defined by an absence of cultured yeasts, enzymes, acid additions, tannin adjustments and the obfuscation of the vineyard’s voice by excessive new oak, the creed. Things are not done in half measures at Alkina, where Grenache is perceived as the Barossa’s finest variety due to its suitability to climate and the predominance of schist over limestone in these parts. Wild fermented in concrete tulips, before maturation in concrete and older French wood, the result is one that bears a chiaroscuro of darker fruited shades, juxtaposed against the weightlessness of red fruited accents melded to a diaphanous latticework of detailed tannins and juicy natural acidity. Plenty of woodsmoke, bergamot, sandalwood, salumi and black olive tapenade, too. A stunning wine, emblematic of what Australia has long been capable of but largely, failed to deliver with this classic blend.
There are a lot of very considered ingredients in this Alkina offering. A premium wine project from hello. ‘Terroir specialist’ (what a title!) Pedro Parra, and winemaker Alberto Antonini are the human elements at the top of the food chain here – they’re very well regarded and have invested in exploration of the 40-plus hectare site outside Greenock. The oldest vines hit the ground in the 1950s, most recent plantings up to 2017. It’s all certified biodynamic. This wine combines fruit from what Alkina call ‘Polygons’, which to me sound like lieu dits (little plots) inside the main vineyard. These Polygons are exceptional, unique soil profiles, tiny-tiny in size, and in this wine blended instead of going into a single Polygon wine.
Tightly wound, precise feeling red. Shaped with cinching tannins, drawn long to a fine, tart point. Dark and plummy fruit character, raisin and fig notes, dark chocolate for sure. It’s got good energy, a sense of tension and structure, great pucker as it closes, but oh, that little scratch of outside the box acid-lemony tang to close… takes a bit away from the fruit character on show. Anyways, a fine, fancy feeling wine.
93+ points, The Wine Front (March 2021)
From the oldest vines on the property (60 years), this has a floral nose with violets and roses, stemmy whole-bunch influence and plenty of red berries and blueberries. The palate has a fresh, upright feel with quite assertive but supple tannins. Plush, brambly berry flavors. The bunchy firmness needs time to settle in. A blend of 50% grenache, 30% shiraz and 20% mataro.
93 points, JamesSuckling.com (September 2020)
The Old Quarter refers to a section of the Alkina vineyard planted in the 1950s to the district’s classic varieties, in this instance the reds grenache, shiraz and mataro. The crew here consider this the purest expression of the site as a whole, Alkina manager Amelia Nolan calling it “our most important achievement”.
Having mapped the block into tiny sections with unique geologies, each called a polygon, the fruit from five separate patches was fermented individually with indigenous yeast in concrete tulips with an average of 70% whole bunch included before maturation in a mix of concrete and older, larger French oak. The makeup of 50% grenache, 29% shiraz and 21% mataro weaves together a multitude of aromatic and flavour characters: charcuterie, blood pudding, dark plum, dark choc and orange with an underlying chalk and talc composition that acts as a textural foundation to its lifted top notes. The crowning achievement here is a completeness, a symbiotic and harmonious wine that defies being deconstructed into its parts. All class and right at the top of the league in this genre.
97 points, Wine Pilot
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.